The definition of alumni is anyone who has attended or graduated from a particular school, college, or university. You needn’t have graduated.
Although often forgotten after graduation, career centers at most colleges and universities are untapped resources that offer services for free or minimal fees.
“I wasn’t having much luck finding a job. My husband suggested I check out my college,” said Meredith Collins, media relations, CarMax, Inc., Richmond, VA. “I found a tremendous amount of resources.”
A 1998 graduate of the University of Richmond, Collins returned to her university career center in the fall. The center also steered her to their website full of career related materials, a search engine for jobs along with alumni networking.
Collins said she attended a campus job fair where many of the representatives were alumni. “It was nice because you had that instant bond.”
Ten months, 28 interviews, and 40 company personnel later she found the job she was looking for. “I would recommend the career center to any alumni.”
Most college career centers offer a host of services including career counseling, job leads, job search skills training, resume writing and critiquing, along with mock interviews. Jobs, alumni networking and reference materials are among the resources found at campus websites.
“We’ve always seen active use of the career center by our recent graduates,” said Andrew Ferguson, director of the Career Development Center at the University of Richmond. “Typically people who are out of college longer look to headhunters or networking, but in a down economy they expand their resources.”
The career services offers lifetime access to alumni and promotes this service through the alumni magazine and website. Benefits to the alumni include a feeling of coming home and the price is right, free. “It also helps us keep our alumni close.”
As for future plans, Ferguson noted that the center will launch a series of four workshops in four cities. “This will give the local alumni an opportunity to network with each other too.”
Tasha Fryfogle, assistant director, Career Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. “More alumni are coming back and they are looking for career related services. Alumni can be anywhere from a semester out of school to people who were here in the 70s and 80s.
“I think we’ve done an exceptional job of meeting the needs of returning alumni,” said Fryfogle. “We’ve answered the call.”
In this challenging economy you need to do everything you can on your path to securing that new job. Go now and knock on the door of that career center. The welcome mat is out.